Good Fats – why are they important?
There’s lots of confusion about fats. The truth is, not all fats are bad. There are different types of fats and some fats are healthier than others.
Healthy fats are essential for an athlete’s diet, they include positive effects by reducing inflammation and recovery from injury, supporting bone health, metabolic health and weight management. For the best health benefits of an athlete it is important to identify which foods contain good fats and which foods contain bad fats.
Saturated fats are considered “bad fat” and are linked with increased cholesterol levels. Such fats are found in processed meat, fast foods and fried foods. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been manufactured to behave like saturated fat. Trans fats play a major factor in heart disease and are linked with increased risk of heart attacks . It is important to avoid these types of fat where possible. Foods including deep-fried foods, fast foods, biscuits, cakes, pastries and pies all contain trans fats.
Unsaturated fats, sometimes referred to as “good fats” are an important part of a healthy diet, they can help lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in some foods and in your blood. It is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can be dangerous and increase the risk of heart disease . Unsaturated fats include foods such as olive oil, avocado and some nuts.
A simple way to identify whether foods are considered saturated or unsaturated fats are to see what happens to them at room temperature. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature (e.g. cakes, chocolate, pastries, pies, biscuits, coconut, coconut cream or milk, processed meats and cheese). Whereas unsaturated fats, which are broken down into two different types, polyunsaturated fat are liquid at room temperature (e.g. fish and fish oils) and monounsaturated fat are soft at room temperature (e.g. avocados, cashews and almonds).
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are also considered good fats. They are naturally found in coconut oil and coconut. MCT fats are stored differently in the body when compared to other fats and for this reason increase overall calorie intake without increasing body fat, which is perfect for athletes looking for optimal mass gain. Musashi Bulk Extreme is a superior mass gainer, it contains 33g of quality protein, 38g of carbohydrates and MCT fats making up a healthy 376 kcal per serve, ideal for anyone struggling to put on weight.
When eaten in large amounts, all fats, including healthy fats can contribute to weight gain therefore, like anything, fats should be eaten in moderation.